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By Robert Wilson
Photos by Chris Todd

Clinton coach Judd Boswell knows how a talented athlete at quarterback can carry a team to victory.

Boswell coached a star athlete who played quarterback – high school All-American and now Los Angeles Rams running back Cam Akers – and won the MHSAA Class 6A state championship in 2016.

Photo By Chris Todd

Unfortunately for Boswell and his Arrows, he watched another talented athlete at quarterback – last year’s MHSAA Class 6A Player of the Year and Alabama commitment Brayson Hubbard of Ocean Springs – be the difference Friday night.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Hubbard completed 17 of 18 passes for 156 yards and two touchdowns and ran 26 times for 118 yards and one TD to lead Ocean Springs to a 31-13 victory over Clinton in the season opener for both teams at Arrow Field in Clinton.

It is the second straight year Hubbard and Ocean Springs started the year with a win over Clinton. Hubbard completed 20 of 28 passes for 232 yards and two TDs and ran 20 times for 94 yards and four TDs and led Ocean Springs to a 45-44 double overtime win.

Hubbard completed 68.6 percent of his passes for 2,069 yards and 30 TDs and only 3 interceptions and ran for 1,258 yards on 162 carries, a 7.8-yard average, and 22 TDs last season as a junior and led Ocean Springs to 11 consecutive wins before being upset by Oak Grove 26-21 in the 6A state quarterfinals. Hubbard, who ran a 4.5-second 40-yard dash at Alabama’s camp this summer, is expected to play safety for the Crimson Tide.

“Hubbard is one of the best players in the Southeast,” Boswell said. “He made a lot of plays on third down that others wouldn’t. Hubbard and the (John Paul) Coulter kid are a great combination, and they have a shot of making a run. Ocean Springs did a great job as a staff and team. If Bray Hubbard is healthy, they will always have a shot. He’s special.”

After senior running back Jakobe Calvin – a member of the PriorityOne Bank Metro Jackson Preseason Elite 11 Team – ran for a 2-yard TD for a 6-0 Clinton lead with 10 minutes, 30 seconds to play in the second quarter, Ocean Springs scored 24 unanswered points. Hubbard connected with sophomore Bryshen Smith for a 13-yard TD pass and sophomore running back Will Smith scored on a 3-yard TD for 14-6 Ocean Springs lead at halftime.

Senior Bart Edminston kicked a 33-yard field goal and Hubbard scored on a 1-yard TD run on fourth and goal for a 24-6 lead after three quarters.

The 5-11, 220-pound Calvin, who gained 105 yards on 13 carries Friday, scored his second TD on a 73-yard run to cut the Ocean Springs lead to 24-13 with eight minutes to play. Calvin had 902 yards and 15 TDs last season as a junior.

Clinton has 16 returning starters (eight each on offense and defense) is expected to have a better season than last year when the Arrows finished 6-5 and lost to Southaven 14-10 in the first round of the 6A state playoffs.

Photo By Chris Todd

“I think we played in spurts on offense,” Boswell said. “But we weren’t consistent enough to sustain any drives, which lead us to playing 75 plus snaps on defense. That’s not good at all. The Arrows will get better.

“Jakobe is going to have a great year. He had a good night. We just have to get some other parts working smoothly.”

Clinton plays at Northwest Rankin next week in another non-region Class 6A game. Clinton defeated Northwest Rankin 32-7 at Clinton last season.